The Lieutenant Governor of Virginia Has Filed a $400 Million Defamation Lawsuit Against CBS News

By A.J. Katz 

It’s a good news, bad news day for CBS.

The good news: The news division announced a new executive producer for its flagship newscast.

The bad news: CBS News is being sued by a prominent politician for $400 million.


The Richmond Times-Dispatch is reporting that Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax has filed a $400 million defamation lawsuit Thursday against CBS Corp. and CBS TV in New York, alleging the network published false statements by two women who have accused him of sexual assault.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Virginia’s Eastern District.

“Fairfax brings this action to restore his reputation and clear his name, ensure the truth prevails, stop the weaponization of false allegations of sexual assault against him, and vindicate his rights under civil law,” the lawsuit said.

CBS News tells TVNewser in a statement: “We stand by our reporting and we will vigorously defend this lawsuit.”

Vanessa Tyson, a college professor, is accusing the lieutenant governor of forcing her to perform oral sex in a Boston hotel room in 2004. Meredith Watson has accused Fairfax of raping her while the two were students at Duke in 2000.

They made their allegations public – and later did interviews with CBS – in February, when Gov. Ralph Northam faced intense pressure to resign over a scandal related to a racist photo on his page in his 1984 medical school yearbook. CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King interviewed Northam in February about the scandal.

If Northam had resigned, Fairfax would have replaced him as Virginia governor.